Hope­fuls dif­fer on is­sues

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

FROM the NBN to milk prices, candidates for the seat of Flynn have a va­ri­ety of opin­ions on the is­sues that af­fect the North Bur­nett.

The Na­tional Broad­band Net­work is cur­rently be­ing rolled out through­out the re­gion, though La­bor can­di­date Zac Beers said the process was botched.

“La­bor had a vi­sion making sure all Aus­tralians had ac­cess to high speed in­ter­net, that is where NBN came from, making sure all those in re­gional ar­eas had ac­cess,” Mr Beers said.

“The gov­ern­ment have botched the en­tire process, be­cause they thought they could do it cheaper, but there has just been de­lay af­ter de­lay.”

In­cum­bent LNP MP Ken O’Dowd said it was a case of the gov­ern­ment not keep­ing up with the world.

“The world has moved faster than the gov­ern­ment has moved, as you know gov­ern­ments don’t move very fast,” Mr O’Dowd said.

“When you take it all into ac­count, you have Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment in­volve­ment, State Gov­ern­ment in­volve­ment and lo­cal gov­ern­ment in­volve­ment.

“It can’t all be done at once, I’d love to wave a wand and fix it, but th­ese things take time.”

Mr O’Dowd said de­spite this, he planned to have the NBN rolled out in the area by 2019.

“It’s part of our agri­cul­ture plan as well as our so­cial and moral plan to give every­one an equal hit at re­gion­ally fast broad­band from 25-50 megabits per sec­ond,” he said.

In­de­pen­dent can­di­date for Flynn Nathan Fletcher said it was an is­sue of con­nec­tiv­ity.

“We need a real over­haul and up­grade on our com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems,” Mr Fletcher said.

“To know that there is a lot of ar­eas who sit out­side of even satel­lite com­mu­ni­ca­tion is not only bad for try­ing to ad­vance busi­nesses, ed­u­ca­tion, health care and com­mu­ni­ties as whole, but it’s dan­ger­ous for our health and well­be­ing in an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion.”

Mr O’Dowd said the back­packer tax had been raised with him a bit by con­stituents.

“I can see the pit­falls if we bring a 32.5% tax from the first dol­lar they earn, I think that will frighten a lot of back­pack­ers off,” Mr O’Dowd said.

“Though some tax should be paid, they do use our hos­pi­tals and roads, but I think if we can come to a com­pro­mise, like the Sea­sonal Work­ers pro­gram from the Pa­cific Is­lands, where they pay 15% tax.”

Mr Beers said the in­tro­duc­tion of a tax needed to be deeply thought about.

“Those work­ers are vi­tal for sus­tained oper­a­tion for a lot of busi­nesses,” he said.

“Any changes to tax­a­tion to back­pack­ers needs to con­tem­plate the im­pact it will have.”

Mr Fletcher trav­elled to Bris­bane to at­tend the dairy farm­ers rally or­gan­ised by Rob­bie Radel on May 25.

“Plac­ing a 50c levy would do won­ders for the in­dus­try as a short-term fix,” Mr Fletcher said.

Mr O’Dowd said he had been talk­ing with farm­ers and said a 10c levy could im­prove si­t­u­a­tions.

“(Farm­ers are) cur­rently get­ting 55c a litre. If we lifted it to 65c a litre, things would be good for dairy farm­ers in the re­gion,” he said.

Mr Beers said while he had not made any com­mit­ment re­gard­ing milk prices, he sup­ported Aus­tralian jobs.

“(Our lo­cal busi­nesses dis­ap­pear­ing) shouldn’t be as a re­sult of a price war.”

PHOTO: PAUL BRAVEN

LNP Flynn MP Ken O’Dowd.

PHOTO: DY­LAN SUSKA

In­de­pen­dent Nathan Fletcher.

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